My response to Adrian Levy’s report titled “India’s nuclear industry pours its wastes into a river of death and disease”

Mr Adrian Levy published the following report on the website of The Centre for Public Integrity:

I responded thus to it:

Kallikattu Sivarama Parthasarathy ·

Adrian Levy has faithfully reproduced almost all the media stories on the alleged adverse health effects in the villages around the oldest uranium mine in India. I knew; I was keeping track of such stories since 1987. They appear in the media with boring frequency. They are so regular that specialists tend to ignore them.
Thank you Mr. Levy for referring to one of my articles in passing. I do not grudge your not describing my important conclusions as they may probably take a bit of sheen away from your story.
First of all. about the health effects. The stories on the adverse health effects in Jadugoda started appearing with unerring periodicity during the late 90s. Government of India took them seriously.
Twenty-six specialists including physicians, scientists and academic staff, many of them from outside the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) carried out three separate health surveys in Jaduguda. They concluded that the alleged health effects are not caused by radiation. One medical team noted that the problems, they have can be seen in any village in India with similar socio-economic parameters / conditions. It is a settled issue.
The United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation(UNSCEAR) periodically publishes the most authentic reports on biological effects of ionizing radiation.
None of these reports talks about women suffering disruptions to their menstrual cycle, miscarriages or stillborn babies, infertility, children born with partially formed skulls, blood disorders, missing eyes or toes, fused fingers or brittle limbs all due to low dose exposure.
Adrian Levy gives a graphic account of the health effects ably supported by photographs provided by Ashish Birulee, a young photographer from that area. The International Uranium Film Festival IUFF, an anti nuclea NGO popularized a photo exhibition “Jadugoda Drowning in Nuclear Greed” by Ashish Birulee on “health hazards” of the people of Jadugoda due to uranium mining
IUFF realized that it is easy to spread anti nuclear messages “through motion pictures containing soulful human stories.” NEVER MIND WHETHER THEIR OBSERVATIONS ARE SUPPORTED BY SCIENCE OR NOT. IUFF openly invites “all those passionate film-makers who are or have been making documentaries on the nuclear industry or radioactive issues”. As a matter of fact, the current South Asia Director of IUFF himself took documentary films on such issues. They use an “admirable” strategy. The first step is to carpet bomb the villages with scary information. After ensuring that they have scared the villagers by persuasive propaganda, they interview them. The documentaries are taken artistically with the deliberate intention of biasing the viewers. Never mind whether they have any scientific basis or not. There are reasons to believe that anti nuclear activists find these measures very cost effective.
Levy willingly fell into that trap. It is unfair for anyone to expect that he will study the technical reports by scientists working in the Environmental Laboratory to say that all is well in Jadugoda
Levy cannot be faulted for quoting at length the studies of Professor Koide Hiroaki. Professor Koide opposed generation of nuclear power for 40 years. He may not favour uranium mining! According to his admirers, he remained an Assistant Professor all his career reportedly because of his anti nuclear views; some humorless critics may argue that it was because he was unproductive in the assessment of the University.

About ksparthasarathy

I am a former Secretary of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board. I am a former Raja Ramanna Fellow in the Department of Atomic Energy. Free lance journalism is my hobby
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